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Courage in Patience: A Story of Hope for Those Who Have Endured Abuse

Courage in Patience: A Story of Hope for Those Who Have Endured Abuse

4.7 13
by Beth Fehlbaum
After six years of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from her stepfather, 14-year-old Ashley finally finds the courage to reveal the painful details of her experiences with her mother, who refuses to acknowledge the problem and turns her back on her daughter. After confiding in her teacher—the only adult whom Ashley can


After six years of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from her stepfather, 14-year-old Ashley finally finds the courage to reveal the painful details of her experiences with her mother, who refuses to acknowledge the problem and turns her back on her daughter. After confiding in her teacher—the only adult whom Ashley can trust—she is removed from her home and sent to live with her father and his second wife, Beverly, an English teacher. Nurtured by Beverly, an extraordinarily positive influence in her life, Ashley and a summer school class of troubled teens learn to face their fears and discover who they really are.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fehlbaum's debut novel, set in a small Texas town, is overloaded with thorny issues and hindered by a "very special episode" tone, but features a genuine and empathetic lead. After enduring six years of sexual abuse from her step-father, 14-year-old Ashley Asher finally gathers the courage to confide in her mother; predictably, mom sides with step-dad. Soon, Ashley is sent to live with her estranged birth father, David, and his new wife and son. Though he's now a kind man who's put his life-long anger issues behind him, Ashley still struggles to trust her father. His wife, Bev, a high school English teacher, brings Ashley into her extended family of summer school students; a controversial reading assignment, Ironman by Chris Crutcher, provides the novel's other hot-button issues-racism, censorship, homophobia and religious extremism. An over-the-top scandal is followed by Bev's hokey, message-laden testimonial before the local school board. Throughout, Ashley's self-destructive tendencies, conflicted feelings and struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder read authentically; had Fehlbaum focused more on her recovery, rather than a raft of societal woes, this story would have been more powerful. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

Kunati Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Beth Fehlbaum is an English teacher. She lives in Piney Woods, Texas.  

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Courage in Patience: A Story of Hope for Those Who Have Endured Abuse 0 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
BNobleReader More than 1 year ago
When I first got this book, I was swamped with school and suffering a bit from depression so I put off reading it for a week. Big mistake. When I finished reading it, I realized Beth Fehlbaum had written a book that not only contained great lessons in healing for abuse survivors, but also one that educated others about what victims of abuse go through. Beth's writing really made Ashley and the other characters three dimensional, and didn't resort to making any one person all good or all bad (although you really come to despise Ashley's mother Cheryl and her step dad Charlie, especially if you're an abuse survivor). For instance, we see one of the minor characters Dub, step out of his racist stepfather's shadow and start on his way to becoming a good man. This brings up another great point about the book - it's more than a book about abuse. Like the back cover of the book says, this story is "[a] touching story focused on the themes of abuse, social injustice, racism, peer pressure, bullying, parental responsibility, fear, forgiveness, love, acceptance and hope, which will inspire the millions of abuse victims in America, young and old alike." The ending of the story isn't a Hollywood ending, but it is a hopeful one. Beth's writing kept me engaged, so much so that I read half the book in an afternoon. If you've ever suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because of abuse, you'll really feel the pits in your stomach as you read what Ashley's family puts her through. But even though Beth Fehlbaum stays real, she never gets graphic in her portrayal of what's going on. It's a tricky balancing act, but one that she pulls off marvelously. Buy this book, you won't regret it. It is definitely original, and a refreshing addition to anyone's bookshelf.
HeatherR More than 1 year ago
First off, this book is a great read. It was hard to read at first because she was telling about what Ashley was going through. When the healing began with Ashley, is when everything changed. I cried, laughed, got really angry and sat on pins and needles at times when reading this book. It talks about loving people where they are at. Not hiding from the truth, but facing truth even when we are so fearful. Anyone who has been sexually abused or even if a person hasn't, should read this book. People need to know that this happens and what the victims face or have faced. This book covers every issue that kids face, not just sexual abuse. I am the type of reader that the author has to have my attention pretty much at the beginning of the book and Beth Fehlbaum had mine from the beginning all the way to the end. I couldn't wait to finish it and find out what happened. Beth is a very talented writer! Thank you for writing this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book because I thought it might help a friend, but it helped me to understand some of my own behaviors. I have many signs of having suffered some sexual abuse, but I have no memories. From time to time I seem to zone out and act less assertive than anyone who knows me now expects. Reading about Ash's recovery and her talks with Bev helped me to understand what apparently happens to me. It is a huge relief, it helps me to forgive myself, it affirms my courage, and it gives me hope that I will continue to heal.
brightmyer More than 1 year ago
Although this book is a story about surviving sexual abuse and the traumatic outcomes, there is more to this book than meets the eye. It is a story of healing and self-acceptance and empathy in a sometimes cruel world. I like how Fehlbaum used the town of Patience, Texas as an inspirational theme for the title of the book. We truly learn how one character courageously persevered in Patience. 14-year-old Ashley Asher endured six years of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from her stepfather before having the courage to confide to her mother about this dark secret. But instead of loving support, her mother turns her back on Ashley, and chooses not to believe what is happening right before her eyes. When Ashley then confides in a teacher, the teacher arranges to have the traumatized girl sent her to live with her estranged biological father. Surprisingly, although the father is full of guilt for abandoning Ashley as a child, it is the stepmother who accepts Ashley with open arms and tries to ease her transition into a new family. I like the way Fehlbaum uses the stepmother's summer English class as a template for healing. Using Chris Crutcher's book, IRONMAN, emotional issues like fear, racism, bullying, censorship and intolerance are discussed and dealt with in present day terms. This book is a fast-paced read and I literally devoured each page. Fearing this would be another one of the "abuse books" dealing with the physical implications of abuse, I was surprised and delighted when Fehlbaum's focus was more on the emotional turmoil of abuse. She has given us believable characters and addressed them in a thoughtful caring manner. I highly recommend this book, not only to victims of abuse or even family and friends of abuse victims, but to anyone wanting to read an inspirational story of survival and tenacity.
jsbulldog89 More than 1 year ago
"It may not seem like it now, but you are not alone."

This debut novel by Beth Fehlbaum was a great and emotional story, and I am looking forward to her next novel. Beth gives readers the chance to experience what life is like for an individual who was sexually abused, and also tackles many other issues that are still prevalent in today's society--racism, homosexuality, etc. We may have moved forward in science and technology over the past couple decades, but that doesn't mean that the world is now perfect.

Courage in Patience focuses around Chris Crutcher's novel, Ironman, another must-read for teenagers.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
Beth Fehlbaum's first novel COURAGE IN PATIENCE reads more like a memoir from a caregiver (who in this book happens to match Fehlbaum's full time career as an English teacher) than a fierce diatribe against abuse - and that is what makes this very well written book so readable. Child abuse - 'child' including the years from birth to adulthood - is a major problem in this country, and indeed around the world: the media barrages us daily with third world country tales of child labor in all manner of 'work' in addition to the external abuse inflicted on children whose parents are removed by war and bloodshed. And while Fehlbaum concentrates on sexual abuse of the central character Ashley by her stepfather and the 'blind eye' abuse by her mother, she manages to share all manner of abusive practices that bring light to issues we all may be ignoring - racial, prejudice, homophobia, physical deformities, etc.

Fehlbaum understands how to build a story well - her introduction of the central character Ashley Asher begins with enough humor and gentleness to make us care for a young girl in dire circumstances. The story of the novel is well described elsewhere - secretive sexual abuse, confrontation, alienation, sources of solace and protection and the tremendously important role teachers can play as the watchdog and supportive arm for young abused children. For this reader the story reads best in the portion of the book devoted to peer community assistance as focused on the little town of Patience, Texas. It is here that the novel rises above the usual tale of the abused child and enters the realm of finding support through sharing the various kinds of child abuse among groups of friends. If the novel becomes a bit preachy at the end - an attempt to focus the message of the book that by the time of the conclusion has already been clarified - the rest of the book more than makes up for this flaw. Fehlbaum knows the language of the various youngsters and writes credibly in their conversations, a fact that makes this book more sensitive than many on the subject.

COURAGE IN PATIENCE is a fine read and an excellent resource for those who are undergoing abuse or are still recovering from the scars of the many forms of abuse the book addresses. Spread the word: Beth Fehlbaum has added to the library of novels with a helpful message. Grady Harp
DorothyL More than 1 year ago
Have you ever felt like an abused wild animal trapped in a cage with just enough room to pace back and forth, all the while just patiently waiting for that one second to break free and run?

Courage In Patience will make you feel just like that as you read the revealing and somewhat offensive story of Ashley Asher. This young girl lived a life as a victim of abuse not only by her stepfather but also through her own mother's inability to take a stand for what is right and what is wrong.

Through Ashley's Journey of hope and survival you will also witness the unveiling of several other more silent & subtle forms of abuse, such as hypocrisy, racism, small town mentality, tainted christian morals and even deliberate ignorance.

Not only does the author Beth Fehlbaum do an exceptional job of expressing how a kind heart, a true love and respect can penetrate any barrier of negativity, she chooses a word in her title that spells survival in a different way.."Courage". Without courage to move forward, Ashley would have never been able to break free of the cage of abuse she was forced into!

Womensselfesteem.com highly recommends: Courage in Patience as a true story of hope and strength. The purpose of this book is to also teach and inspire all victims of abuse toward the understanding that abuse is not acceptable and it is something you can stop!

Beth Fehlbaum had the Courage to share with her readers the most intimate, private, horrific experiences of her life in hopes that her words can save even one victim.

Do you have the Courage to read her book and move forward in turn?

harstan More than 1 year ago
In La Salle, Texas Ashley Asher has been sexually abused by her stepfather Charlie who calls her ash-hole for six years. Desperate she turns to her mom when she turned fourteen, but is stunned as the person she thought would keep her safe rejected her plea; mom backed her spouse over her daughter.

Ashley is sent to live with her estrange biological father David in Patience, Texas. The upset teen fears her dad as he has anger management issues. However, his schoolteacher wife Beverly welcomes Ashley into the family and into her English high school summer class studying the controversial Ironman by Chris Crutcher

Mindful of the Barbara Streisand movie Nuts, Ashley keeps the deep look at family abuse focused as she receives reader empathy and understanding with her inability to trust anyone or depend on those who should help you but hide in the sand; ignorance is bliss. Beverley¿s efforts to make Ashley comfortable and ultimately just be part of their family are commendable and not easy but she displays COURAGE IN PATIENCE with the teen that learned from adults she is worthless and therefore seeks to destroy herself. However, the powerful prime plot of a teen struggling to overcome parental abuse and adjust to a warm nurturing relationship is somewhat sideswiped by Beverly¿s tendency to spout overkill babble. Yet Beth Fehlbaum has written an insightful look at a teen trying to overcome abuse as she superbly captures the essence of Ashley, making this a winner with a deep message of ¿It may not seem like it now, but you are not alone.¿

Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
Courage in Patience. Not wanting to think about sexual abuse -- let alone another child suffering through rape -- I stalled by focusing on the title. How clever it had been for the author to set most of the action in a town called Patience. At least read the rest of this summary, I thought. It quickly became clear that although the book is a novel, Beth Fehlbaum did not write it from the perspective of a person standing outside looking in. She, too, was sexually assaulted as a child. Not only has she faced what happened, she has worked through her pain so she can help others see that they are not alone. Instead of letting stress burn her up inside, she braved smoke and flames in order to throw open a window. That is her holding out a flag that says in large, bold letters, You are not a victim, you are you. No one is more valuable. Fear and anger must not be allowed to consume you. There is a rainbow at the end of the long, storm-prone road to recovery, and that road leads to a smoother one. Knowing all this did not keep me from stalling again. Child abuse -- particularly sexual abuse -- is not academic to me. The very idea makes scars that Time has not healed throb. I became a writer in the hope that shedding light will eventually dry the sludge poisoning my psyche enough that some will blow away. What doesn't can be channeled to some far-off sea, where it will immediately sink to the bottom, never to surface again. Pouring hurt onto paper has helped Ink fades, after all. You can burn paper if you have to. But no matter what you do, a certain amount of residue is going to cling. What you need to do is season it with love and understanding, then make a healing poultice of the mixture and spread it around. I am so glad I quite stalling. Because Courage in Patience does just that. Beth Fehlbaum has written a story that I guarantee will stay with you. Her characters are fully developed, not Joan of Arcs and Darth Vaders. She was so smart not to make a goodie-goodie of the girl who is the target of the abuse. Not only do you empathize, you end up aching for her to find a way out of the dark! The man who abuses her acts despicably, but he is human. Only a stone would not hurt when reading about the rapes, but what stabbed me the deepest was the mother's betrayal. It brought memories to the surface that I do my best to keep in the graves I worked hard and long to dig and fill. The only time I unearth them is when I am writing. When I write about them, it is in the hope of killing them. 'Know I can't, but it would be dishonest to pretend I don't try.' Like Beth Fehlbaum, I harbor the hope that my ordeal will ring enough bells to ease others' pain and and make at least a few abusers seek help. One reservation that I had in the beginning was that the novel was really two, and should be split. I was wrong. The book is not 'about sexual abuse.' It is not 'about racial discrimination.' It is about accepting who we are. It is about accepting each other. It is about faith. It is about gut-level courage and dogged patience and the value -- no, the absolute necessity -- of a free, well-rounded, genuinely enlightened education. It is about the worst in us and the best in us. I love to read books that somehow manage to entertain while teaching important lessons. That teach without teaching down! Courage in Patience is all this and more. Were there medals for fortitude and compassion, she would surely qualify. I am convinced that one of the mega-publishers will pick up the novel. I am hoping that the editions they print will be in standard, single-spaced format. Double-spacing makes the book look longer than it is. This is a very minor drawback. I only mention it because I would like to see Courage in Patience reach millions. If you haven't
Guest More than 1 year ago
My stepson went through many of the same feelings Ashley Asher (known as Ash-hole by her stepfather). Reading this book brought back many of the emotions I felt watching him suffer through his relationship with his mother, grandmother, and stepfather. These relationships are touched upon, and Ms. Fehlbaum is right on the mark in how abusers and their family members act. The sexual abuse, reactions of others, and healing process in this book are so realistic that it is emotionally draining to read. Do not let that stop you. I had to put this book down several times to cry. I have never read a book that more accurately portrays the feelings of the abuse victims and those who support them. Bev, the stepmother and teacher in the book, is such a blessing to Ashley. I will never look at a teacher the same. The only reason that I did not give this book a ¿5" is that it has too many tangents. It touched upon censorship, homophobia, and racism. That took away from the abuse thread. This book is one to read and recommend!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I want to say that I thoroughly 'enjoyed' reading COURAGE IN PATIENCE however, the book was at times very difficult so I hesitate to use the word 'enjoy.' Maybe I should say that I found the book and the subject matter to be very interesting, and I thought it was a well-written story. I thought the abused young girl, Ashley, was very likable and my heart definitely went out to her and her situation. I also thought the supporting characters, especially her step-mother, were wonderful characters. What I really liked about this book was how it handled Ashley's abuse and her journey towards self-acceptance and healing. The beginning of the book was terribly difficult to read because of Ashley's abuse at the hands of her step-father as well as Ashley's mother's lack of action. I think the author did a great job of drawing the reader into Ashley's story and causing the reader to care about the young girl. I thought Ms. Fehlbaum did an ever better job of showing the reader that Ashley could heal and 'go on' after suffering from the horrific abuse. Ashley was portrayed as a very troubled teen, yet she also appeared to be very strong 'even if Ashley didn't recognize it.' When I finished this story, I found the overall message of this book to be uplifting. It was a message of love, acceptance and most of all hope. As if the story was of Ashley's abuse weren't hard enough to handle, the author also chose to write about some other rather difficult situations such as racism, bullying, and censorship. I was a little overwhelmed at times with all of these issues, but I do think they are extremely important for young adults to be aware of and even to talk about. I do think this book would make an excellent discussion book for mother-daughter book clubs. I tried to find some discussion questions, but I didn't have any luck. I would love to see some developed for this book. The book is being promoted on the back cover as one that has no graphic content and is suitable for classroom study. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that there is absolutely nothing that parents and teachers might find controversial, but I do think this book would make an excellent discussion book for teenage girls. As a mother of a pre-teen daughter, I would have to say that I wouldn't have a problem with her reading it 'when she's a little older' however, I would like to read it along with her to answer her questions and make sure that she was getting the right messages from the book. I commend Ms. Fehlbaum for writing this book. Not only did I think the book was very 'readable,' but I also thought it had a tremendous amount of insight into the horrors of sexual abuse. Ms. Fehlbaum is actually an English teacher who has worked with abused children, so I can imagine that much of this novel is based on her real-life experiences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since she was only nine years old, Ashley Asher has been sexually abused by her stepfather Charlie. Not knowing what to do about it and ashamed she¿s somehow responsible, Ash keeps this a secret until she can finally no longer keep it in, six years later. However, when Ash finally confronts her mom with the details of how her husband hurt her, her mother denies it, not willing to believe the man she loves could do such a horrible thing. The only people who offer any type of support are her best friend Lisa and her caring teacher Mrs. Chapman, who, as an adult working for the school, is legally obligated to report Ash¿s case to Child Protective Services. This is how Ash comes to live with her biological father David, a man she has had no contact with since she was three months old. Courage in Patience is a powerful and moving story about how one girl fought an internal struggle to overcome the emotional scars of abuse. Courage in Patience is one of the best debut novels I have ever read. Ashley¿s story is such a sad and touching one. I was immediately sucked into Ash¿s story, about how she was abused by her stepfather and how that affected everything else in her life, especially her ability to trust. I became very attached to Ash, because she was such a real person it made me feel so sad when she felt the effects of her abuse. I used quite a bit of tissues while reading this book, because it is just such a horrible thing that parents could betray their children in the way that Ash¿s mother and stepfather betrayed her. Yet, at the same time, there was David and his wife Beverly who were there to support Ash the whole way, which gave hope to Ash¿s character and the reader. But Ashley¿s story isn¿t the only one there is in this book. Through the summer school English class Bev teaches, Ash is able to interact with other teens that also happen to have problems, bringing up issues such as prejudice against race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. Sometimes it was a little distracting to have all those other small stories woven into Ash¿s journey, but in the end, it all came down to this: no matter who you are or what situation you are in, there is always hope and someone who can help you. The only part of this story that I felt was slightly out of place was Bev¿s secret from Ash about her past, because it was just so surprising however, at the same time, it works perfectly to help Ash heal. Ash¿s story is an unforgettable one, and a story that should be read by everyone. It¿s one of pain, hope, and the beauty of healing. Fehlbaum¿s writing is authentic and raw and confronts important issues that aren¿t addressed in most other novels. Courage in Patience appeals to teens as well as adults and is a story that can give everyone hope.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Courage in Patience is the perfect title for this book. Starting at the age of nine, Ashley Asher was sexually abused by her stepfather. It took her six years to tell her mother what was going on, and when she did her mother did not believe her and stayed by her husband¿s side. Ashley had never really met her biological father, but she was about to. David Asher had a wife and a son, and was on his way to get Ashley as fast as he could. He was unsure of the mental state she would be in, but he would do everything in his power to make her feel loved and be as normal as possible. Ashley was subjected to sexual abuse, emotional abuse, racism, hate crimes, and a myriad of different feelings that no fifteen year old should have to ¿live¿ through. She is also about to make the first friends, without fur 'besides Lisa' that she has ever known. In this book, Courage in Patience, you will find yourself angry, hurting along with Ashley who is telling the story, and you will find that tears will leak from your eyes more than a handful of times while reading. Beth Fehlbaum has captured the heart and soul of the reader with her words, and this book, I would recommend to anyone in this world! 5 Hearts